Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On the porch

Technorati claims to track over 112 million blogs. I would imagine that the number of people who maintain some sort of presence on the web -- blogs, homepages, Facebook, MySpace, Second Life, etc. -- must exceed 600 million, or a tenth of the world's population. What an extraordinary thing the internet is! Some part of the lives of all those folks are available to anyone with web access. Within a decade it will all be wireless. Globally. This is truly the inception of what Teilhard de Chardin called the Noosphere, a new stage of human evolution. Whether it will be a force for cementing our common humanity, or another arena for aggression remains to be seen.

I'm not much of a webbie myself. I have only the dimmest notion of what's out there on Web 2.0. I've never entered a chat room -- whatever that is. At least once a month I get invited to be on someone's Facebook or MySpace page; I always decline. I don't supply links to other blogs. In general, I try to keep as low a profile on the web as I do in "real" life. But don't take that too literally. There are more than a million of my words currently out there in cyberspace; I have no idea where. I suppose they could evaporate tomorrow.

I must admit that this public journal has become addictive. Today is the fourth anniversary of Science Musings on the web. I am grateful to son Tom for getting me started and making it work, to sis Anne for her weekly illuminations, and to the many hundreds of people who visit each day, from as far away as the antipodes (that's you, Mark, in Fiji). On the evidence of those who comment, you are a remarkably courteous, articulate, well-informed and thoughtful lot. I wish I could pluck a dozen of you out of the ether for a summer evening on a real porch.